DescriptionFor the past three years, Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum has been leading a collaborative Smithsonian project on Urban Waterways. The project comes out of a desire to explore the various issues facing urban communities and document the diverse responses to such challenges. Rivers, typically imagined in the context of a wild, natural landscape, are often “forgotten” yet integral parts of cityscapes. What are the consequences of allowing the neglect of our urban waterways? Who pays the price? What are the various efforts being made to reclaim urban rivers and who enjoys these benefits?
The desire to create healthy, sustainable communities is not relegated to waterways, and as the Urban Waterways project has grown, it has made room for the various ways residents are trying to improve their quality of life. Garden Stories grew out of a community forum on green gardening in DC schools. It invites local gardeners to share their gardening stories from their own perspective in the hopes residents can play a role in documenting life in their community and provide a starting point for a more in-depth discussion about our connection to the natural world and the role we can play in creating healthy communities.
Beet Street Gardens was founded in Washington, D.C. as a partnership between Sasha Bruce Youthwork and the non-profit Beet Street Gardens, which establishes gardens on the grounds of social service organizations. The garden is located at the Bruce House and gives youth the opportunity to learn how to grow their own food, gain leadership skills, and learn about healthy eating habits.
Kaneeka is a youth entrepreneur, peer educator, and gardener with Sasha Bruce YouthWork. She was interviewed in 2013 by Katie, the founder of Beet Street Gardens. Kaneeka says that shes loves "the gardening aspect of my job because its something I can use long- term to maintain healthy eating habits and spread the knowledge of what we do as a whole among others. In the future, I plan to attend college to obtain my bachelor's degree in social work so I can further assist the youth of my community as well as start my own business with my experience and knowledge gained from working with the youth at Sasha Bruce and personal experiences to help more kids and teens get their lives back on track."